Around Town | July 15, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 15, 2011

Around Town

UP, UP AND AWAY ... Palo Alto resident Todd Heapy had the chance of a lifetime last week, traveling to Florida as an official Weekly blogger to watch the final launch in NASA's Space Shuttle program. For Heapy, it was a 30-year-plus dream come true. It was not, however, a sure thing, as any number of factors, from weather to technology, could have scrapped the July 8 launch. Heapy woke up at 3 a.m. that day to be prepared to see the scheduled 8:26 a.m. take-off. "I scouted my photo spot and optimistically watched the Web feeds for weather and other progress reports," Heapy wrote in his blog, which is posted along with photos on the Town Square forum at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. "Launch was a go. Launch was not a go. It was, it wasn't. Back and forth it went for a few tense hours. Wait, is that a bit of blue sky I see? ... Anticipation builds. The countdown proceeds. Is this it? The countdown pauses. Oh no! More tension, but thankfully ... it's short lived. 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Main engine ignition! Blastoff!!" An exuberant Heapy managed to get entry to an employee barbecue following the launch, which he said "brought the launch experience full circle." The employees will no longer be employed due to the end of the shuttle program, but their successful contributions to America's space adventures gave them much to celebrate that day.

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